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Heart attack and stroke contribute to the 800,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every year in the U.S. The burden to families and communities is devastating, and medical costs and lost productivity total nearly $1 billion per day.

To address this crisis, the United States Department of Health and Human Services launched Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

To help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Million Hearts works with health care professionals, health care systems, and public health organizations to:
• reduce smoking
• decrease sodium consumption
• eliminate trans-fats
• and promote the ABCS — Aspirin when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, Smoking cessation

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) is an active participant in the Million Hearts initiative, working on many levels to combat the factors that affect the risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, nutrition, tobacco, and physical activity.

One of the ways MDPH works to advance Million Hearts’ goals is to reduce tobacco initiation and tobacco use through environmental change. Patricia Henley, the Director of the Office of Community Health and Prevention at MDPH, presented on a national webinar of the CDC’s Grand Rounds to explain how the Department addresses tobacco industry efforts by partnering with municipalities and community-based organizations. The webinar is available online; Patti’s segment is at 31:00.

The momentum is growing as Million Hearts approaches its halfway mark. Much has been done, but there’s much more still to do. You have a role! Learn how you and your organization can join this initiative and help save one million hearts by 2017.

Written By:


Ted works in communications for the Division of Prevention and Wellness at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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